At today’s Windows 10 briefing, company executives demonstrated many of the new operating system’s features and offered a timeline for the release.
“In the next week, we’ll be releasing a new build of Windows 10 to our insiders,” said VP of operating systems Terry Myerson. A beta version of Windows 10 will be available this week for users who are enrolled in the insiders program, which is free to join. “After the Seahawks win the Superbowl, we’ll be releasing the first build of Windows 10 on phones.”
Windows 10 will be available to consumers later in 2015, though a specific date has not been provided. As always, AirWatch will offer instant support for Windows 10.
It’s likely that as the release date approaches, Microsoft will reveal more details about both the consumer and enterprise-focused features in Windows 10. Microsoft reps briefly touched on several today, adding to what we already know from the first look last September.
Today Microsoft shed light on what it meant by “universal apps,” a feature that was first promoted last September. Key Microsoft apps like Word and a new photos app will have the same user experience across devices, with optimizations for touchscreens, and users will be able to access all of their files through any device.
Universal apps will also allow developers to use a large portion of code to create software that works across device types. The single OS, called OneCore, is designed to help make development faster and cheaper, and therefore more appealing to developers who may have previously focused on other platforms. Microsoft will likely reveal more details about OneCore at Build, its developer conference in April.
Though it was in plain sight throughout today’s event, Microsoft’s big hardware reveal today was Surface Hub, an 84-inch multi-touch device aimed at enterprise customers. The device, which looks like a giant flatscreen TV, acts as a digital whiteboard (users can draw with a stylus or their fingers), video conferencing device with built-in cameras and a fully functional PC running Windows 10. Users might even be able to tell it what to do.
Windows 10 includes voice command capabilities. Users will be able to talk to Cortana, the personal digital assistant Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone 8.1, telling her to do things like find a file or open an application. Cortana will also be integrated with Microsoft’s new browser, Project Spartan, which includes new features such as annotation of web pages, which can then be synced and shared with collaborators.
Microsoft reps also mentioned that security features will be enhanced in Windows 10, though no new details were discussed. During its September reveal, Microsoft introduced two-factor authentication and new identity protection tools, which will be standard enterprise versions of Windows 10.
As more details about these new features are released, stay tuned to learn about the enterprise impact and how AirWatch will integrate.